Posted at: 06/02/2014 11:31 AM
Updated at: 06/02/2014 5:50 PM
By: Justin Granit
It was an explanation, right from the top, for the loss of one of Rochester’s most popular events. One week after announcing the LPGA Tournament will be leaving Rochester, the commissioner made a visit to the Flower City to speak to the media.
The event is known as the defending champion’s day, but the joke was it had turned into defending commissioner’s day. LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan personally wanted to address Rochester about the tour leaving, a change that has been coming for years.
Michael Whan, LPGA Commissioner, said, “The thing that got out of whack was people thought we had a choice. Do we go to New York City or stay in Rochester? At the end of the day, this era was ending. We had time to figure out the next plan. No one was running away from Rochester.”
Monday’s press conference shed some light on the end of a 38 year run for the LPGA in Rochester, the longest tour stop in LPGA history. Wegmans alerted LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan a few years back that sponsorship money would soon run out. The LPGA had time to prepare. Last week, they announced a deal beginning in 2015. The KPGM Women's PGA Championship will be played downstate, meaning women's golf in Rochester comes to an end.
Jerry Stahl, Co-Chair of the Wegmans LPGA Championship, said, “It's a sad day. It's great for women's golf. This is wonderful for women's golf, but it's not too good for Rochester women's golf.”
The final edition of the Wegmans LPGA Championship will be played at Monroe Golf Club, but in its first 37 years, Locust Hill was home to the event.
Whan said, “Those people were phenomenal in the world of hosts. We haven't had hosts like that before. I think it is neat that we are going to end in Rochester in a whole new look and experience.”
The move will give more money and exposure to the LPGA to grow the game. The causality is for our city, one that the commissioner and players adore.
Whan said, “Rochester has become our fabric. What makes Rochester is unique is whether I’m talking to Nancy Lopez, Paula Creamer or the tour, they can all relate to Rochester.”